The Fastest Way to Skin an Almond

The Fastest Way to Skin an Almond

You never thought the day would come. You need skinless, blanched almonds, and you need them now. You could rush over to the grocery store and pray that they have blanched almonds on the shelf, but what if they don’t? You can easily de-skin regular almonds at home in record time with a few common household items.

How do you blanch almonds?

Blanching almonds is the same as blanching anything else—you give them a quick dunk in boiling water. Whether you’re making homemade almond flour, almond butter, or marzipan, or you simply can’t stand when almond skin gets wedged between your teeth, you need the almond meat unadulterated by its bitter, papery outer coating. The blanching process rehydrates the outside of the almond, causing the brown skin to plump up a bit. It also allows a little bit of water to get between the skin and the almond, making for a slightly slippery inner surface. After a short plunge of about a minute, the nuts will be sufficiently blanched and the skin will be ripe for peeling. And if that sounds absurdly tedious, don’t worry—that step is made relatively effortless with the use of a dish towel.

How to peel almonds fast with a dish towel

1. Boil ‘em

Photo: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

Bring a small pot of water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Add a cup of raw, whole almonds to the boiling water and stir them gently for one minute. Meanwhile, lay a clean tea towel or dish towel out on the counter.

2. Rub them with a tea towel

Turn off the heat and, using a slotted spoon or sieve, drain the almonds. Lay them out onto the tea towel. Fold the towel over to cover them completely and use both hands to firmly rub the almonds through the dish towel using a scrubbing motion for about ten seconds. When you uncover the almonds, most of them will be miraculously de-skinned.

After blanching the almonds the skins get very loose. Even slightly agitating the almonds can pop the skin off.

The dish towel trick works triple duty. You can handle hot almonds without burning yourself or waiting for them to cool, the towel dries off the excess water, and the scrubbing motion further loosens the skins. It’s so effective that most of the batch will be rendered naked in a single step.

Any remaining skin-on almonds can be dealt with by pinching one side of the nut. When you pick up the almond you’ll feel that the skin is baggy and loose, like a little almond sleeping bag. Pinch one side and the nut will free itself from its cocoon. Pinch in the direction of a bowl or container, as you don’t want to launch almond projectiles across the kitchen.

After removing the skin, let the almonds cool for at least 10 minutes before using in a recipe. This blanching method works for peanuts and walnuts too. (Walnuts have more crevices so it’s possible you’ll have to do some precision peeling at the end, but for the most part, the skin will still slip right off.)

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